There are Platignums and Platignums. There’s the very basic sort that your parents bought you for school if you were like my husband, who says his pens were lucky to last the week, and were broken or lost by time Saturday came around and another one would have to be bought. No point in buying Parkers for a kid like that, and that’s where the basic Platignums excelled: cheap and just about capable of writing with. No-one’s collecting them.
There were other rather surprising Platignums, though. They were boxed rather than stuck on a card and they came singly or in a pen and pencil set. As well as being adequate writing instruments, they came in stunning colour patterns. These ones do have a following with some serious collectors of other more prestigious pens among them.
This pattern is called “Black and Pearl”. The “As good as gold” tag that you see on the box dates back to the 1920s, when Platignum was born as an offshoot of Mentmore. It was the company’s assertion that their steel nibs were as good as anyone else’s gold ones, a claim you don’t really have to believe. That’s not to say that they didn’t make many good pens. It was really only in the post-war period that some of their lower-priced pens went from economical to downright cheap.
This one’s quite a well-made pen. It uses Mentmore’s patented screw-in plastic button and Platignum button fillers are efficient. I haven’t tested its writing abilities yet, but if previous Platignum steel nibs I’ve tried are anything to go by, it will write perfectly well, provided you don’t want too much in the way of character from your nib. These spoon-ended nibs have a shorter life than a properly tipped nib, but as most people don’t use their pens very much nowadays that’s no longer as important as it once was. In any case, I suspect that this pen will be bought more for its appearance than for its utility.